Healthcare Workplace Update

Labor and Employment Laws and Developments in Healthcare Industry

In its first substantive guidance on independent contractors, the Trump Administration has targeted misclassification in the healthcare industry. Our colleagues in the Staffing & Independent Workforce team offer details on the July 13, 2018 guidance to Wage and Hour Division field staff on determining whether home care, nurse, or caregiver registries are employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. You can read it here.…
As our blog reported on June 21, and as is the case across many industries, issues related to physician pay equity are receiving increased attention nationwide. Doximity’s 2018 Physician Compensation Report (its second annual report) contained key national findings on the gender wage gap that point to widespread disparities in physician compensation: The overall disparity increased from 26.5% in 2016 to 27.7% in 2017. As was the case in 2016, “female physicians did not out-earn…
A recent Fifth Circuit decision reminds healthcare employers that liability not only stems from potential harassment of employees by coworkers, but by patients as well. In Gardner v. CLC of Pascagoula, L.L.C. dba Plaza Community Living Center, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17939 (5th Cir. June 29, 2018), the Fifth Circuit held that Kymberli Gardner, a former assisted living facility certified nursing assistant who was allegedly harassed by a patient, can proceed with her hostile…
The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an interesting decision finding that the actions of an employer’s peer review committee did not constitute an adverse employment action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This decision was driven by the specific facts presented to the court, so it does not necessarily signal a trend toward peer review actions being treated in this manner in Title VII cases. Visit our EPL…
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), the state’s highest court, has held that an Initiative Petition (Initiative Petition 17-07) seeking to create a new law (“The Patient Safety Act”) that would dictate to hospitals and acute care units in state-operated health care facilities the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered nurse is constitutional and could be placed on the November ballot if a sufficient number of supporting signatures were submitted to…
Disruptive physicians are staple characters on television shows about the medical field. Some of the most recent T.V. doctors of this vein that come to mind are Dr. Gregory House of House and Dr. Perry Cox of Scrubs. While Dr. House and Dr. Cox present entertaining caricatures of disruptive physician behavior (“DPB”), in “real life” DPB has long presented many significant workplace challenges for health care institutions. The American Medical Association defines DPB as, “personal…
The healthcare industry is following other industries with an increased focus and growing sense of alarm over the gender pay gap. According to Doximity, in 2017, female physicians on average earned $105,000 (27.7%) less than male physicians.  Similarly, a 2016 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that female academic physicians at public medical schools earned on average $51,315 (20%) less than their male counterparts.  At last week’s Annual Meeting, the…
Public accommodation lawsuits under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have been around for years, but traditionally involve physical barriers such as narrow parking spots or access aisles, lack of elevators, and inaccessible restrooms.  Increasingly, these lawsuits are not just confined to brick-and-mortar accommodations, but involve cyberspace.  For example, individuals who are visually impaired typically access organization’s websites by using certain software that reads a website’s content.  If this software cannot read…
Hospitals and physicians around the country rely on Federal, state, and local “peer review” statutes and regulations to protect records of peer review investigations from public disclosure. Such introspective, candid documents assessing what was done right and wrong during an operation or other procedure are essential to patient health and safety, and institutional quality control. Encouraging such self-assessments is the basis for peer review laws. For example, the Federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act…
Many healthcare workers experience violence in the workplace often resulting from violent behavior by their patients, clients and/or residents. What can healthcare organizations do to improve safety and minimize the risk of workplace violence? In an effort to help healthcare organizations better prevent and address violence in the workplace, The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare, released a Sentinel Event Alert outlining the seven steps healthcare organizations should…